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How to use an external keyboard with your iPad

Scholle Sawyer McFarland | April 1, 2013
You may be able to ditch your heavy laptop and take along your iPad instead, if you use an external keyboard for long typing sessions. In this video, I show you how to use a keyboard with your iPad and we take a look at some keyboards made especially for that purpose.

Open it up, switch on the keyboard, and start typing. The keys give nice feedback.

Notice that like many of the keyboards built especially for the iPad, the ZaggKeys includes special iPad-function keys: Press a key to go the home screen. Press a key to search. Control the volume and screen brightness. It even offers dedicated buttons to make your typing experience easier, for example, buttons for cut, copy, and paste.

Logitech's $130 Solar Keyboard Folio is similar, but offers two viewing angles--one for typing and the other for media viewing. The solar-powered case charges itself and the keyboard switches on and off automatically when you open the case. That means you don't have to worry about forgetting to turn off the keyboard and ending up with dead batteries.

Folio cases are fantastic if you do a lot of typing on your iPad, but they can be cumbersome when you just want to play games or surf the web.

A lighter, thinner option is a keyboard shell. Here is Logitech's $100 Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for the iPad 2, 3, 4. The keyboard covers your iPad's screen. When you get where you're going, pop it off and set up for typing. I like that you can use the ipad in portrait or landscape orientation. Still, this wouldn't be my first choice for long typing sessions. The keys feel thin under my fingers and don't offer much feedback.

There's also a $79 version of the Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for the iPad mini. It's cute, but small even for my fingers.

So that's how you use an external keyboard with your iPad and a few of your keyboard options. Make sure to check out our buying guide for many more.

Using an external keyboard can make typing on your iPad more comfortable and convenient.


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